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  • Title: The Merry Wives of Windsor (Folio 1, 1623)

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
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    The Merry Wives of Windsor (Folio 1, 1623)

    Scena Sexta.
    Enter Fenton, Host.
    Host. Master Fenton, talke not to mee, my minde is
    heauy: I will giue ouer all.
    Fen. Yet heare me speake: assist me in my purpose,
    And (as I am a gentleman) ile giue thee
    2350A hundred pound in gold, more then your losse.
    Host. I will heare you (Master Fenton) and I will (at
    the least) keepe your counsell.
    Fen. From time to time, I haue acquainted you
    With the deare loue I beare to faire Anne Page,
    2355Who, mutually, hath answer'd my affection,
    (So farre forth, as her selfe might be her chooser)
    Euen to my wish; I haue a letter from her
    Of such contents, as you will wonder at;
    The mirth whereof, so larded with my matter,
    2360That neither (singly) can be manifested
    Without the shew of both: fat Falstaffe
    Hath a great Scene; the image of the iest
    Ile show you here at large (harke good mine Host:)
    To night at Hernes-Oke, iust 'twixt twelue and one,
    2365Must my sweet Nan present the Faerie-Queene:
    The purpose why, is here: in which disguise
    VVhile other Iests are something ranke on foote,
    Her father hath commanded her to slip
    Away with Slender, and with him, at Eaton
    2370Immediately to Marry: She hath consented: Now Sir,
    Her Mother, (euen strong against that match
    And firme for Doctor Caius) hath appointed
    That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
    While other sports are tasking of their mindes,
    2375And at the Deanry, where a Priest attends
    Strait marry her: to this her Mothers plot
    She seemingly obedient) likewise hath
    Made promise to the Doctor: Now, thus it rests,
    Her Father meanes she shall be all in white;
    2380And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
    To take her by the hand, and bid her goe,
    She shall goe with him: her Mother hath intended
    (The better to deuote her to the Doctor;
    For they must all be mask'd, and vizarded)
    2385That quaint in greene, she shall be loose en-roab'd,
    With Ribonds-pendant, flaring 'bout her head;
    And when the Doctor spies his vantage ripe,
    To pinch her by the hand, and on that token,
    The maid hath giuen consent to go with him.
    2390Host. Which meanes she to deceiue? Father, or Mo-
    Fen. Both (my good Host) to go along with me:
    And heere it rests, that you'l procure the Vicar
    To stay for me at Church, 'twixt twelue, and one,
    2395And in the lawfull name of marrying,
    To giue our hearts vnited ceremony.
    Host. Well, husband your deuice; Ile to the Vicar,
    Bring you the Maid, you shall not lacke a Priest.
    Fen. So shall I euermore be bound to thee;
    2400Besides, Ile make a present recompence.